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Do Something Today Your Future Self Will Thank You For

Every time I hear the phrase, "Let's get this party started," it makes me think of my first NEA Representative Assembly—a giant Congress of 8,000 to 10,000 members held in July of each year. At the opening of many RA's a loud chorus of "Let's get this party started" can be heard echoing throughout the building. The chance to attend this amazing gathering was one of the turning points in my MEA and NEA involvement. I ran for a state seat to the RA in 2001 in Los Angeles. What an experience! It helped solidify my beliefs about working together to improve education and the importance of local Associations, MEA and NEA as the voice of education employees.

I encourage you to consider your next step in the Association. What will you do that will make your future better? It is never too early to be planning for your own involvement in your local Association and the MEA/NEA.

Being elected to an open seat on your Executive Board, vying for a place at the NEA Annual RA, attending the MEA Representative Assembly each May, or running for a seat on the MEA Board of Directors are chances for you to activate and advocate.

If you have never held a leadership position in your local Association now may be the right moment. Lots of locals are hoping to find new leaders to mentor and train to take the reins of your Executive Board. We know that without fresh perspectives, new thoughtful ideas, and more involvement, our Associations can seem to be a private club more than a professional organization. Being a leader of your local puts you in the know and gives you the chance to learn more about the NEA and MEA while advocating for your colleagues and building important bridges to the community. After all, we know - Knowledge is Power!

This summer's NEA RA - July 2 to July 7 - will be in Washington, D.C. Maybe you would like to join us there? Our RA delegates will help set the course for the NEA. If your local Association has 75 members or more you qualify for a locally funded seat. Your Association would fund the costs estimated to be around $1600-$1800.

MEA will also hold elections for NEA RA seats, the costs of which are borne by MEA. In this issue of the Educator you will find more information on MEA elections on the inside cover of this Maine Educator. We go a couple of days ahead to attend informational meetings, work hard and have fun during the RA days and nights, and build friendships that will last forever. It is an awe-inspiring week!

Other election information is available in this issue on the MEA Representative Assembly to be held at the Samoset Resort May 21 and 22. Every Association or group of small locals has the chance to elect delegates proportional to the size of the Association. The MEA RA sets the course of our State Association for the next 12 months—something that is vitally important to our success as the largest democratic organization in the state.

Filling a seat for the MEA RA is easy as pie. Let your local president know of your interest and s/he will have the paperwork that needs to be filled out and submitted. Run a campaign for election, get the necessary votes, let us know the election results, and we will see you there! All costs for the weekend are paid by MEA including lodging and meals, and if you are more than 120 miles away from Rockport we will even pay Friday night lodging to be sure you are there bright and early on Saturday.

MEA will also be holding elections for open seats on the Board of Directors. Several areas of the state have available seats and we would love to have you join us. Terms are for three years beginning July 15, and we meet as a Board several times a year in addition to having regional monthly meetings to attend with members. Again this takes some paperwork, an election, and the majority vote. The elections are held by MEA and more information is available to help you decide if this is a path for you.

Are you ready? We are ready for you. Come on and do something today that your future self will thank you for - Get Active in Your Professional Organization!

MEA Benefits Trust

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